How To Create Your Ideal LinkedIn Profile

January 22, 2016 mokeefe

Your LinkedIn profile is one of your greatest resources when it comes to increasing your chances of being recruited for desirable employment opportunities. And while all LinkedIn profiles follow a standard format, there are several elements that you can modify to make your LinkedIn profile professionally ideal. Contact CPS, Inc. for help with tailoring your application materials appropriately in order to prepare for your employment search.

What to Add:

#1: Extensive experience in current and past positions
Avoid simply listing your present and former employment without elaborating on the nature of your duties, skills, and responsibilities for each position held. Be especially thorough when detailing the nature of your current position and of previous positions that best reflect the type of employment that you are currently seeking. You may worry that lengthy descriptions of each job will clutter your profile or discourage recruiters from reading it entirely, but remember that recruiters and employers are seeking the absolute best candidates for open positions and there is a better chance of you being contacted for a position that you are qualified for--and that you'd truly want--if you present your work experience extensively. While you do not have to provide every last detail about each position on your profile, do provide several bullet-pointed details that you feel reflect your primary responsibilities and skills.

#2: Volunteer experience
Just because some of your pertinent work is/was unpaid does not mean that it should be eliminated from your LinkedIn profile. Volunteer work is one of the best ways to gain experience in many fields before attaining employment within them. Moreover, volunteer work suggests that you go above and beyond, that you have a work ethic that transcends extrinsic rewards, and that you have humanitarian as well as professional sensibilities. Volunteer work that is both related and unrelated to your desired field of employment is worthwhile to include on your profile as it reflects your dedication and well-roundedness.

#3: Recommendations
Perhaps nothing provides a more ringing endorsement than recommendations. While your listed experience may communicate what you can do, you recommendations stress how well you can do it. Recommendations reinforce that your skills and strengths are not just theoretical, but that you are someone desirable to hire and work with in practice. Reach out to a handful of your former bosses, supervisors, and/or colleagues, and ask if they would be willing to provide a short recommendation (a paragraph doesn't take long to write but can convey volumes) for your LinkedIn profile.

What to Remove:

#1: Your twitter handle
Your contact information should include your name, your phone number, and your preferred email (providing both a personal and a professionally affiliated email is fine). While Twitter may be a useful forum for some types of communication, your tweets do not best represent the extent of your potential as an employee. The character limit and the sometimes inconsistent and/or ambiguous tone used in tweets can lead to a misrepresentation of who are you are and what you are capable of in professional capacities. The same goes for your Facebook and personal blogs: don't link them on your LinkedIn profile.

#2: An outdated headshot
They key to your LinkedIn profile, much like your resume, is transparency and honesty in the communication of your experience and skills. An old headshot may confuse potential employers if you land an interview and show up looking unlike the person on your LinkedIn profile. And even if you still look similar to the picture provided, updating your headshot shows initiative and drive. A photo of yourself makes you seem like a real person, not just an amalgam of information, and this can increase your chances of recruitment and employment; just make sure to provide a photograph that is current and professional.

#3: Blurry background images
Personalizing your LinkedIn profile a bit is nice way to add a touch of your personality, but be mindful of which images you choose to include, and make sure to use only high quality, high-resolution images that look aesthetically appropriate and crisp once they are uploaded. Blurry background images look unprofessional and they only muddle your profile and distract from the important content. Eliminate background images that are blurry and seem to eclipse the polished content of your profile; and note having no background image at all is perfectly fine as well.